The Merchant of Baghdad

“You cannot escape death and you cannot escape aloneness.” Osho would tell many fine stories to illustrate his talks. “The Merchant of Baghdad”, a Sufi parable, is one of my favourites and one that I have posted to Facebook on numerous occasions.

“The Merchant of Baghdad”
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back white and trembling and said, “Master, just now in the marketplace I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your fastest horse and I will go to Samarra, and there Death will not find me.”

The merchant lent his horse, and the servant mounted and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd, and he came to Death and said, “Why, why did you make a threatening gesture to my poor servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture, sir,” Death replied. “It was merely a start of surprise; for I was astonished to see him here in Baghdad as I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

You cannot escape. If you are going to die in Samarra, you will reach there somehow!
You cannot escape death and you cannot escape aloneness. Try as you will—try, but all efforts fail. Nobody has ever succeeded in avoiding aloneness, because aloneness is your being. When you are avoiding aloneness you are avoiding yourself—how can you avoid yourself? How can you escape from yourself? In trying to escape, you miss—you miss the beauty of being alone. In fact, you start thinking of yourself as lonely because you have missed the beauty of aloneness.

Aloneness is tremendously beautiful; loneliness is ugly. They don’t mean the same, notwithstanding what the dictionaries say. Aloneness is such a beautiful experience. You ARE—pure, uncontaminated by anybody else’s presence; no shadow falling on you—a clarity, unclouded … your being pure, virgin—nobody has ever travelled in that territory………

An Osho story
origin unknown.

Rumi’s Love Poems

Rumi’s Love Poems
(‘As found on the CD “A Gift of Love” compiled by Deepak Chopra)

My Burning Heart
My heart is burning with love
All can see this flame
My heart is pulsing with passion like waves on an ocean
my friends have become strangers
and I’m surrounded by enemies
But I’m free as the wind
no longer hurt by those who reproach me
I’m at home wherever I am
And in the room of lovers I can see with closed eyes the beauty that dances
Behind the veils intoxicated with love I too dance the rhythm of this moving world
I have lost my senses in my world of lovers

In my Hallucination
I saw my Beloved’s flower garden
In my vertigo
In my dizziness
In my drunken haze whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel
I saw myself
as the source of existence
I was there in the beginning and i was the spirit of love
Now I am sober
There is only the hangover and the memory of love And only the sorrow
I yearn for happiness I ask for help
I want mercy
And my love says
Look at me and hear me because i’m here just for that
I am your moon
and your moonlight too I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way eager for you
without shoes or shawl
I want to laugh
to kill all your worries to love you
to nourish you
Oh Sweet Bitterness!
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses
I too have been covered with thorns

Intoxicated by Love
Because of your love
I have lost my sobriety I am intoxicated
by the madness of love
In this fog
I have become a stranger to myself I’m so drunk
I’ve lost the way to my house
In the garden
I see only your face
From trees and blossoms
I inhale only your fragrance
Drunk with the ecstasy of love
I can no longer tell the difference between drunkard and drink Between lover and Beloved

The Lover’s Passion
A lover knows only humility
He has no choice
He steals into your alley at night
He has no choice
He longs to kiss every lock of your hair Don’t fret
He has no choice
In his frenzied love for you
he longs to break
the chains of his imprisonment
He has no choice

Do You Love Me?
A lover asked his beloved, Do you love yourself more than you love me?
The beloved replied, I have died to myself and I live for you.
I’ve disappeared from myself and my attributes.
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learning, but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.
I have lost all my strength, but from your power
I am able.
If I love myself I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.

Come to me
I’m your lover Come to my side
I will open
the gate to your love
Come settle with me Let us be neighbors to the stars
You have been hiding so long aimlessly drifting
in the sea of my love
Even so
you have always been connected to me Concealed, revealed in the known
in the unmanifest
I am life itself
You have been a prisoner
of a little pond
I am the ocean
an its turbulent flood
Come merge with me
Leave this world of ignorance
Be with me
I will open
the gate to your love

I desire you more than food or drink
My body
my senses
my mind
hunger for your taste
I can sense your presence in my heart
although you belong
to all the world
I wait
with silent passion for one gesture one glance
from you

The Alchemy Of Love

The Awakening
You come to us
from another world
From beyond the stars
and void of space.
Transcendent, Pure,
Of unimaginable beauty,
Bringing with you
the essence of love
You transform all
who are touched by you. Mundane concerns,
troubles, and sorrows
dissolve in your presence, Bringing joy
to ruler and ruled
To peasant and king
You bewilder us
with your grace.
All evils
transform into
You are the master alchemist.
You light the fire of love
in earth and sky
in heart and soul
of every being.
Through your love
existence and nonexistence merge. All opposites unite.
All that is profane
becomes sacred again.

Caught In The Fire Of Love
My heart is on fire
In my madness I roam the desert The flames of my passion
devour the wind and the sky
My cries of longing
My wails of sorrow
Are tormenting my soul
You wait patiently
Looking into my intoxicated eyes You accept my passion
with the serenity of Love
You are the Master of Existence One day I shall be a Lover like You
In the early dawn of happiness you gave me three kisses
so that I would wake up
to this moment of love
I tried to remember in my heart what I’d dreamt about
during the night
before I became aware
of this moving
of life
I found my dreams
but the moon took me away
It lifted me up to the firmament
and suspended me there
I saw how my heart had fallen
on your path
singing a song
Between my love and my heart things were happening which slowly slowly
made me recall everything
You amuse me with your touch although I can’t see your hands.
You have kissed me with tenderness although I haven’t seen your lips You are hidden from me.
But it is you who keeps me alive Perhaps the time will come
when you will tire of kisses
I shall be happy
even for insults from you
I only ask that you
keep some attention on me.

I Am Yours
Because the idol is your face,
I have become an idolater.
Because the wine is from your cup, I’ve become a drunkard.
In the existence of your love,
I have become non-existent.
This non-existence, linked to you, is better than all existence.

Behind the Scenes
Is it your face
that adorns the garden?
Is it your fragrance
that intoxicates this garden? Is it your spirit
that has made this brook
a river of wine?
Hundreds have looked for you and died searching
in this garden
where you hide behind the scenes.
But this pain is not for those who come as lovers.
You are easy to find here. You are in the breeze
and in this river of wine.

Looking For Your Face (aka ‘From the beginning of my life’)
From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it
Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for
Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking as I did
I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes
My heart has burned with passion and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold
I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine
Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine and also your shadow
My soul is screaming in ecstasy Every fiber of my being
is in love with you
Your efflugence
has lit a fire in my heart for me
the earth and sky
My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy and my heart
is a place of prayer

The Meaning of Love
Both light and shadow
are the dance of Love.
Love has no cause;
it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets. Lover and Loving are inseparable and timeless.
Although I may try to describe Love when I experience it I am speechless. Although I may try to write about Love I am rendered helpless;
my pen breaks and the paper slips away at the ineffable place
where Lover, Loving and Loved are one.
Every moment is made glorious by the light of Love.

Aroused Passion
You arouse me with your touch although I can’t see your hands
You have kissed me with tenderness although I haven’t seen your lips
You are hidden from me.
But it is you who keeps me alive
My sweetheart
You have aroused my passion
Your touch has filled me with desire and I am no longer separate from you These are precious moments
I beseech you
Don’t let me wait…

Die in This Love
Die, die, die in this love.
If you die in this love your soul will be renewed.
Die, die, don’t fear the death of that which is known. If you die to the temporal you will become timeless. Die, die, cut off those chains
that hold you prisoner to the world of attachment. Die, die, die to the deathless and you will be eternal. Die, die, come out of this cloud.
When you leave the cloud,
you will be the effulgent moon
Die, die, die to the din and noise of mundane concerns. In the silence of love you will find the spark of life.

The Privileged Lovers
The moon has become a dancer at this festival of love.
This dance of light,
This sacred blessing,
This divine love,
beckons us
to a world beyond
only lovers can see
with their eyes of fiery passion. They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light now they are the radiant sun. They have left behind
the world of deceitful games. They are the privileged lovers who create a new world
with their eyes of fiery passion.

Precious Love
Oh God! I have discovered love!
How marvelous! How good!
How beautiful it is! My body is warm from the heat of this love
How secret! How deep! How obvious it is!
I offer my salutations to the stars and the moon, to all my brothers and sisters
I offer my salutations to the spirit of passion that aroused and excited
this universe and all it contains
I have fallen unable to rise.
What kind of trap is this?
What chains have tied my hands and feet?
It is so strange and so wonderful
this loving helplessness of mine.
Be silent, do not reveal the secret of my precious love.

In love, nothing is eternal but drinking your wine, There is no reason for bringing my life to you,
other then losing it.
I said “I just want to know you, and then disappear”
She said,”Knowing me does not mean dying”

Defeated By Love
The sky was lit
by the splendor of the moon So powerful
I fell to the ground
Your love
has made me sure
I am ready to forsake
this worldly life
and surrender
to the magnificence
of your Being

Lost In The Wilderness
Oh lovers, where are you going? Who are you looking for?
Your beloved is right here.
She lives in your own neighborhood. Her face is veiled.
She hides behind screens calling for you, while you search and lose yourself
in the wilderness and the desert.
Cease looking for flowers,
there blooms a garden in your own home. While you go looking for trinkets,
your treasure house awaits you
in your own being.
There is no need for suffering, God is here!

The Mythical Lover

The Agony Of Lovers
My love for you
has driven me insane
I wander aimlessly
the ruins of my life
my old self a stranger to me
Because of your love
I have broken with my past My longing for you
Keeps me
in this moment
My passion
gives me courage
I look for you
in my innermost being
I used to read
the myths of love Now I have become the mythical lover

I Am And I Am Not
I’m drenched
in the flood
which has yet to come I’m tied up
in the prison
which has yet to exist
Not having played
the game of chess
I’m already the checkmate
Not having tasted
a single cup of your wine I’m already drunk
Not having entered
the battlefield
I’m already wounded and slain
I no longer
know the difference between image and reality
Like the shadow I am
I am not
The agony of lovers
burns with the fire of passion Lovers leave traces
of where they’ve been
The wailing of broken hearts is the doorway to God

The Agony And Ecstasy Of Divine Discontent
In the orchard and rose garden I long to see your face.
In the taste of Sweetness
I long to kiss your lips.
In the shadows of passion I long for your love.
Oh! Supreme Lover!
Let me leave aside my worries. The flowers are blooming
with the exultation of your Spirit.
By Allah!
I long to escape the prison of my ego and lose myself
in the mountains and the desert.
These sad and lonely people tire me.
I long to revel in the drunken frenzy of your love and feel the strength of Rustam in my hands.
I’m sick of mortal kings.
I long to see your light.
With lamps in hand
the sheiks and mullahs roam the dark alleys of these towns not finding what they seek.
You are the Essence of the Essence, The intoxication of Love.
I long to sing your praises
but stand mute
with the agony of wishing in my heart.

The Mirror
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute of eternity. We are pain and what cures pain, both.
We are the cold sweet water and the jar that pours I want to hold you close like a lute,
so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror and here are the stones
Look At Your Eyes
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me? Look at your eyes, they are small but they see enormous things.

Looking For Love
God is within
My heart is in harmony with my head
my spirit soars as a bird in search of new sky, The innocence of my life
releases the God I love everywhere.

Some Kiss
There is some kiss we want with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.
Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately it needs some wild darling!
At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine. Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window. The moon won’t use the door, only the window
The Freshness
When it’s cold and raining, you are more beautiful.
And the snow brings me even closer to your lips.
The inner secret, that which was never born, you are that freshness, and I am with you now.
I can’t explain the goings,
or the comings. You enter suddenly,
and I am nowhere again. Inside the majesty.
My Beloved
Know that my beloved is hidden from everyone Know that she is beyond the belief of all beliefs Know that in my heart she is as clear as the MOON Know that she is the life in my body and in my soul

The Hunt
The Lover comes, the Lover comes! Open the way for him!
He’s looking for a heart,
Let’s show him one.
I scream
“What you come to hunt is me!”
He says laughingly,
“I’m here not to hunt you but to save you.”

A Gift of Love:  Poems by Rumi
(‘As found on the CD compiled by Deepak Chopra)
Purchase the CD from Amazon: Click on this

Tracks on CD:
1. Valentine To Rumi (Musical Prelude) – Deepak & Friends
2. 2-Love Drunk: My Burning Heart – Deepak Chopra
3. 2-Love Drunk: Bittersweet – Madonna
4. 2-Love Drunk: Intoxicated By Love – Deepak Chopra
5. 5-Desire: The Lover’s Passion – Deepak Chopra D
6. 5-Desire: Do You Love Me – Demi Moore
7. 5-Desire: Come To Me – Deepak Chopra
8. 5-Desire: Desire – Deepak Chopra
9. 9-A Lover’s Madness: The Alchemy Of Love – Deepak Chopra
10. 9-A Lover’s Madness: Caught In The Fire Of Love – Martin Sheen
11. 9-A Lover’s Madness: The Awakening – Deepak Chopra
12. 12-Divine Love: I Am Yours – Robert John Burke
13. 12-Divine Love: Behind The Scenes – Blythe Danner
14. 12-Divine Love: Looking For Your Face – Jared Harris
15. 15-The Light Of Love: The Meaning Of Love – Goldie Hawn
16. 15-The Light Of Love: Aroused Passion – Deepak Chopra
17. 17-The Lover’s Passion: Dying To Love – Robert A.F. Thurman
18. T17-The Lover’s Passion: The Privileged Lovers – Deepak Chopra
19. 17-The Lover’s Passion: Precious Love – Deepak Chopra
20. Surrender To Love-20: Surrender – Deepak Chopra
21. Surrender To Love-20: Defeated By Love – Sussan Deyhim
22. Surrender To Love-20: Lost In The Wilderness – Deepak Chopra
23. Lover From Another World-23: The Mythical Lover – Gautama Chopra
24. Lover From Another World-23: I Am And I Am Not – Deepak Chopra
25. Lover From Another World-23: The Agony Of Lovers – Laura Day
26. Supreme Lover-26: The Agony And Ecstasy Of Divine Discontent – Sonja Sohn
27. In My Heart-27: The Mirror – Debra Winger
28. In My Heart-27: Look At Your Eyes – Noah Hutton/Debra Winger
29. In My Heart-27: Looking For Love – Rosa Parks
30. In My Heart-27: Some Kiss – Coleman Barks
31. In My Heart-27: The Freshness – Coleman Barks
32. In My Heart-27: My Beloved – Chris Barron
33. In My Heart-27: The Hunt – Deepak Chopra
34. Reprise: Desire (Instrumental) – Deepak & Friends
35. In My Heart-27: A Lover’s Madness (Instrumental) – Deepak & Friends
36. In My Heart-27: The Lover’s Passion (Instrumental) – Deepak & Friends

The Impotence of Myth and Belief

“The myth gives life, a spurious life, a life of impotence. The myth becomes necessary when there is no understanding of truth every minute. Most people’s lives are guided by myths, which means that they believe in something, and the belief is a myth. Either they believe themselves to be the World Teacher, or they follow an ideal, or they have a message for the world, or they believe in God, or they hold to the left formula for the government of the world, or to the right. Most people are caught in a myth, and if the myth is taken away, their life is empty. Sirs, if all your beliefs, all your titles, all your possessions, all your memories are removed, what are you? You are empty, are you not? Therefore your possessions, your ideas, your beliefs are myths which you must hold to, or you are lost.”
— J Krishnamurti

Everything Just Happens

For those who imagine that their ‘political opinions’ are superior to those of others, or that they have the ability ‘to make a difference’ by engaging in political action or going on various demonstrations etc., it is worth reflecting on the following words of Gurdjieff as recorded by Ouspensky:

“Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man can’t produce a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks and feels, all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything: It all happens.

To establish this fact for oneself, to understand it, to be convinced of its truth, means getting rid of a thousand illusions about man, about his being creative, and being consciously organising his own life and so on. There is nothing of this kind. Everything happens ––popular movements, wars, revolutions, changes of government, all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as everything happens in the life of the individual man.

Man is born, lives, dies, builds houses and writes books, not as he wants to but as it happens. Everything happens. Man does not love, hate, desire –– all this happens. But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. And it is particularly unpleasant and offensive because it is the truth and nobody wants to hear the truth.

It is one thing to understand with the mind and another thing to feel it with one’s whole mass, to be really convinced that it is so and never forget it”.
––– (G.I. Gurdjieff, as recorded by P. D. Ouspensky) –––


The Buddha, 2000 years earlier, was able to formulate this more elegantly as follows:
“Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no individual doer thereof”.

Man’s Position

From “The Secret of Secrets”
Animus and Anima
‘Gurdjieff loved a parable, an Eastern tale, which speaks about a very rich magician who had a great many sheep. But at the same time this magician was very mean. He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing. The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and so on, and above all they ran away, for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins and this they did not like.

“At last the magician found a remedy. He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them first of all that they were immortal and that no harm was being done to them when they were skinned, that, on the contrary, it would be very good for them and even pleasant; secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world for them; and in the third place he suggested to them that if anything at all were going to happen to them it was not going to happen just then, at any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about it. Further the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not sheep at all; to some of them he suggested that they were lions, to others that they were eagles, to others that they were men, and to others that they were magicians.

“And after all this his cares and worries about the sheep came to an end. They never ran away again but quietly awaited the time when the magician would require their flesh and skins.

“This tale is a very good illustration of man’s position.’

“The Secret of Secrets”
Animus and Anima

(From a series of talks given between 11/08/78 am to 26/08/78 am
11 August 1978 am in Buddha Hall, Pune, India)